Who doesn’t love a good mystery?
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Through the Mirror #2 hit the shelves this Wednesday and the crew of the Enterprise-D are still puzzled over the existence of the duplicate Lieutenant Jones that Worf encountered on the facility on Naia IV.
Of course, this involves a lengthy interrogation and a completely confused Worf when it turns out that the ship’s computer revealed that Lieutenant Jones had been at his duty station for the last seven months.
Before more about this issue can be discovered, however, the Enterprise receives a distress call from a damaged Andorian battlecruiser – and the mystery continues.
I’m enjoying the unique way in which this story is developing. It’s obvious to the reader what’s going on; clearly the Mirror Universe Enterprise crew have discovered a way to breach the dimensions and raid “our” side for much-needed materials and supplies. But the fun in reading this story is watching the prime universe crew put the pieces together and solve the mystery themselves — and it’s just as enjoyable to see the Mirror crew learn about this strange new universe at the same time.
The story is divided in two as with the first issue; present and past are both presented separately to share perspectives of the discovery on both sides of the mirror. The prime universe, as drawn by Chris Johnson in this issue, allows us to watch the reactions of the captain and crew of the USS Enterprise as they uncover evidence of security breaches, raided ships and impossible duplicates of themselves showing up on security footage.
The second story, set a few months prior to first story, is spectacularly painted by J.K. Woodward and shows the lead-up to the ISS Enterprise’s slow discovery of the existence of a parallel universe.
The clear point of this structure is to eventually bring the two sides to an inevitable meeting. But how each side gets there is definitely half the fun. For instance, Riker and Picard’s reactions are truly entertaining when they are presented with their first evidence of a parallel universe. But it’s the second story, titled “Ripe for the Plunder” that really catches my attention.
Considerably shorter — since painted stories take more to prepare than traditional comic illustration — the action revolves around Data and his investigation into the time of Emperor Spock. His detective work takes him to a mysterious jungle planet, Spock’s last known location.
The other half of the fun is picking out the tiny Easter eggs that are evidence of the fun that Scott and David Tipton are having in crafting this book. For example, on page 9, I want to know if the crewman off to the right of the panel (beside Commander Data) is a cameo appearance by Scott Tipton? Without glasses, of course. Also, the information broker in J.K. Woodward’s story is the same shady character from whom Dr. McCoy tried to purchase transport to Genesis in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
But characters like the librarian at Imperium Alpha — gotta love that twist on Memory Alpha — are difficult to identify and I wonder if that’s Woodward having fun too? While she just may be a stock character, she bears a strong resemblance to Majel Barret Roddenberry. I also can’t ignore the glowing figure in between both Rikers on the cover for next week’s issue either.
Is that a teaser about Spock in traditional Vulcan Kohlinar garb? There’s a lot of mystery on the part of the creators woven into this book which is enough to make me want to go back through the pages and see if I’ve missed anything else. Like, was that a Gorn guard? And who are the unknown men in robes who Data encounters? It’s good that there is only a week to wait for issue #3!
- Cover ‘A’ is wonderful rendition of the parallel Datas facing each other. This is actually part of an entire tapestry-sized project that Woodward showed on his website and social media, a truly amazing piece of art when you see its entirety. These covers serve as slices of excellence and truly capture the intentions and ambitions of this comic.
I’m always stunned by the clarity and accuracy of Woodward’s work. It walks the line between being completely realistic and still managing to convey a sense of fantasy that captures the attention and imagination of the reader. This is clearly my favourite cover.
- Cover ‘B’ is a scene from the interior action as Riker and his away team board the Andorian battlecruiser and are attacked by a surviving Andorian crewmember. Lots of action in this scene and Chris Johnson does a good job of conveying its intensity. I also like seeing covers that are representative of the story; it makes for a more enticing read.
- The retailer-incentive cover ‘A’ is a photograph of the lovely Marina Sirtis in her role as Counselor Deanna Troi. I’m never a fan of a photo on a cover, even though Sirtis never fails to capture my attention!
- The retailer-incentive cover ‘B’ is a wonderful portrait of The retailer-incentive cover ‘A’ by Peter McKinstry. I was introduced to this artist’s work last issue and am quite taken with it. I expressed last week that I hope that IDW keeps this artist on their roster as he is certainly gifted, particularly with Star Trek.
- The convention-exclusive cover (not pictured), like last week’s, is a black and white version of Woodward’s ‘A’ cover. This is definitely would prove to be a great project experience for some aspiring colourist at a convention, at least that would be my aim for it.
The game is certainly afoot in this issue. The mystery deepens and we are drawn along as crews on both sides make their discoveries about their respective counterparts. It’s going to be an exciting three more weeks as we continue to learn more of the surprises the other universe has in store for both crews of the Enterprises!
Watch for my review of Star Trek: TNG — Through the Mirror #3 next week!